Firstly a bit of back ground about me. I’m Tony Dixon, callsign G4CJC and I live in Enfield. Originally I’m from Newcastle-u- Lyme, a small town close to Stoke. I don’t get to the club every week as I have a football club to support, Stoke City and they need all the support they can get.
So what have we been up to. I came to a few meetings and enthused about FT8 data mode. Dave, G0KUC, took up the “challenge” as did Dave M5AGW and Tony G8VVZ. They were successful in their enterprises, Dave, ‘KUC, so much so that within a very short time he had accumulated and printed quite a few awards.
We then thought why not get the club station onto FT8. A SignaLink interface was obtained (from where?) and attached to the Yaesu FT897. WSJT-X software was downloaded onto a handy laptop and the FT8 experience was started. There was, and still is, much tweaking and adjusting as Microsoft and others “update” their programs. Dave, ‘KUC, soon had 1000s of contacts under his belt and drew our attention to the Radio Marathon centered on the Cricket World Cup.  And whilst this was great fun and not a competition it did highlight the work involved in manual logging and converting it (by Dave ‘KUC) to a form suitable for entering into contests and the like. I was using a paid for logging program, HRD, that I was quite used to. I investigated others both paid for and free and eventually came up with the DXLab Suite of programs. It’s free, support is excellent and can be used in a modular form.
We took some time to get it up and going as none of us knew its various intricacies. After much trial and error it’s up and running as an automatic (for FT8) logging system. We had a slight hiccup, Dave ‘KUC keeps all the logs for G1RAF on Excellent, but he was taking paper logs home and at first typing them into QRZ. The new logging software is capable of producing log file that can be loaded directly on to QRZ. We soon got that sorted. Even better, with a bit of investigating by me, direct logging to of each FT8 QSO to QRZ is now implemented.
The same software has been loaded onto a computer and attached to the Yaesu FT1000MP rig. This is mainly use for SSB and CW contacts. Now logging can be done for those types of contacts and automatically up loaded to QRZ. I just need to produce a “How To” guide for operators.
Latest news: G1RAF worked VK7AC, Tasmania on FT4. Dave ‘KUC was the operator.
This is VK7AC